Swedish language

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The Swedish language (Svenska [`svɛnska]) is a Germanic language, spoken in Sweden and by ethnic Swedes in Finland, where it is also an official language. It is related to Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic , and Faeroese. It is remarkable that the structure of Modern Swedish is much different from the one in the ancient times. The systems of declension and conjugation have gone through a tough process of simplification, which nowadays makes Swedish easy to learn in comparison with Icelandic or German, for example. Having borrowed a relatively large amount of words from other European languages, Swedish has, however, saved most old lexemes, which makes it very similar to other Scandinavian languages.

Contents

History

The history of Swedish names 5 main periods: Runic Swedish (800-1225), Classic Old Swedish (1225-1375), Old Swedish (1375-1526), New Swedish (1526-1732), Modern Swedish (since 1732).

Orthography

Swedish orthography uses the Latin alphabet with three additional letters: Åå, Ää, Öö. The letter Åå has been used since 1948, and it replaced the digraph aa, which is still possible in some old fashioned newspapers and old Scandinavian surnames. The letters q, z, and w are not typical for originally Swedish words, and are usually used in borrowings. However, q can be approached in some Swedish surnames (Lagerqvist, for example). Unlike English, Swedish writing evolved simultaneously with the language itself. Thus, modern Swedish spelling is adequate to the way the words actually sound.

The most notable deviation from this is the letter Oo which represents four vowels– /u:/, /ʊ/, /o:/, /ɔ/. Also, a number of archaic spellings are still retained, such as gj, lj, dj, hj with the first sound being mute.

The reading rules are not difficult in Swedish as far as the spellings usually correspond to the actual pronunciation. The basic principle is based on the syllabic balance. The syllabic balance is a common Scandinavian feature which stands for obligatory lengthening of stressed syllables. It means that a long vowel can only occur before a single short consonant, as well as a short vowel – only before a cluster or a single doubled consonant. Doubled consonants are said twice as long as their single equivalents. Thus, a vowel is long if:

  1. it is the last sound in the syllable (veta /`ve:ta/, läsa /`lɛ:sa/);
  2. it occurs before one consonant (tid /’ti:d/, ord /’u:ɖ/).

A vowel is short:

  1. before a consonant cluster in which the first consonant is said a bit lengthened (eld /’eld/, aska /`aska/);
  2. before a doubled long consonant (Anna /`an:a/, rinna /`rin:a/).

Note that the consonants represented by the clusters rd, rn, and rl are always short. The clusters rt and rs are usually short, and ng is almost always long.

  • a – /ɑ:/, /a/
  • b – /b/
  • c – /k/, /s/ (before ä, e, ö, i, y)
  • d – /d/
  • e – /e:/, /e/; /ɛ/ (in some words as exception); /æ/ (before r when short); /ə/ (unstressed)
  • f – /f/
  • g – /g/, /j/ (before ä, e, ö, i, y; after r, l at the end of a word)
  • h – /h/
  • i – /i:/, /i/
  • j – /j/
  • k – /k/; /ɕ/ (before ä, e, ö, i, y)
  • l – /l/
  • m – /m/
  • n – /n/
  • o – /u:/, /ɔ/; /ʊ/ (in some words as exception)
  • p – /p/
  • r – /r/
  • s – /s/
  • t – /t/
  • u – /ʉ:/, /ʉ/
  • v – /v/
  • x – /ks/
  • y – /y:/, /ʏ/
  • z – /s/
  • å – /o:/, /ɔ/
  • ä – /ɛ:/, /ɛ/; /æ:/, /æ/ (before r)
  • ö – /ø:/, /ø/; /œ:/, /œ/ (before r)

Letter combinations:

  • gj, dj, lj, hj – /j/ (before a stressed vowel)
  • rt – /ʈ/
  • rd – /ɖ/
  • rn – /ɳ/
  • rl – /ɭ/
  • rs – /ʂ/
  • ng – /ŋ/
  • gn – /ŋn/ (in the same part of a word)
  • sj, stj, sch – /ɧ/
  • sk – /ɧ/ (before ä, e, ö, i, y)
  • tj, kj – /ɕ/

Phonetics and Phonology

There are 17 vowels (with 23 variants overall) and 23 consonants in Swedish. The phonetic system of modern Swedish is typically Scandinavian and is closest to Norwegian. The main features of Swedish phonetics, which are not found in English, are:

  1. phonological opposition of long and short vowels. This is not typical for modern English. This term stands for pairs of vowels which are identical and differ in length only.
  2. Phonological opposition of labialized and non-labialized vowels. In simple words, a labialized vowel is a vowel that is pronounced with the lips rounded (like “u” in “tune”). In Swedish, there are pairs of vowels that differ only in labialization: att meta (to catch) – att möta (to meet).
  3. Total absence of diphthongs (gliding vowels like in English “time”). This fact is unique for the whole Germanic group.
  4. Long consonants after short vowels. This reflects the so called syllabic balance (see below). The actual behavior is implied in any consonant doubled and said long after a short stressed vowel: hiss /his:/ (elevator), finna /`fin:a/ (to find).
  5. Tonic accent as a phonologically relevant factor. Simply saying, the tonic accent is changes in pitch in different syllables in a word. The pitch itself can be high and low, and the combination of pitches forms the tonic accent. This should not sound intimidating as there are only two tones in Swedish. However, sometimes, the meaning of a word depends on the tone (see below).


Vowels:

Closeness / Row Front Front Rectracted Middle Back
High i: i y: ʏ u:
High Wide ʉ: ʊ
Middle e e ø: ʉ o:
Middle Wide ɛ: ɛ ø ɔ
Low æ: æ œ: œ
Low Wide a a:
  • /i:/ is a long close front unrounded vowel. It means, the tongue goes up and forward, and the lips stay calm or smile. This sound therefore resembles English /i:/ in “team”, but it is tenser and closer. vi /’vi:/ (we), lika /`li:ka/ (the same as).
  • /i/ is a short close front unrounded vowel. This sound resembles /i:/, but it is much shorter, like in the English word “bin”. hiss /’his:/ (elevator), finna /`fin:a/ (to find).
  • /y:/ is identical to /i:/, but the lips should be intensively rounded (as if you wanted to say “doom”). yta /`y:ta/ (area), by /’by:/ (village).
  • /ʏ/ is identical to /і/, but again, you will have to apply some rounding. yrke /`ʏrkə/ (profession, occupation), fylla /`fʏl:a/ (to fill (in)).
  • /e:/ is a long mid front unrounded vowel. It is similar to English /e/ in “debt”, but it is much longer. leva /`le:va/ (to live), veta /`ve:ta/ (to know, to be aware of).
  • /e/ is the short copy of /е:/. krets /’krets/ (circle, environment), penna /`pen:a/ (pen).
  • /ø:/ is identical to /е:/, but this vowel is rounded. möta /`mø:ta/ (to meet), lösa /`lø:sa/ (to solve, to untie).
  • /ɛ:/ is a long mid front unrounded vowel. The description is the same as for /e:/, but this vowel is different. To say it, you will have to drop you jaw a little bit. The difference is quite slight, and the terms to differentiate /e:/ and /ɛ:/ are “narrow” and “wide”. gräla /`grɛ:la/ (to quarrel, to shout), äta /`ɛ:ta/ (to eat).
  • /ɛ/ is the short variant of /ɛ:/. Make the sound very short to get it right. väska /`vɛska/ (bag), känna /`ɕɛn:a/ (to know (someone), to feel).
  • /ə/ is simply a schwa. It is a weak variant of /e/ which appears in unstressed syllables. moder /’mu:dər/ (mother), mogen /’mu:gən/ (mature).
  • /ø/ is pronounced like /ɛ/, but some rounding is applied. önska /`ønska/ (to wish), öppna /`øpna/ (to open).
  • /æ:/ is a variant of /ɛ:/ that occurs before “r”. This long vowel is an open front vowel and is very similar to the English vowel in the word “ran”. ära /`æ:ra/ (honor), stjärna /`ɧæ:ɳa/ (star).
  • /æ/ is shorter than /æ:/. hjärta /`jæʈ:a/ (heart), värma /`værma/ (to heat up, to warm up).
  • /œ:/ is a variant of /ø:/ before “r”. Apply the very known rule: say /æ:/ with rounded lips. köra /`ɕœ:ra/ (to drive), göra /`jœ:ra / (to do, to make).
  • /œ/ is just the short equivalent for /œ:/. börja /`bœrja / (to begin).
  • /a:/ is a long open back vowel. It is slightly rounded. This sound is similar to English /a:/ in “father”. However, it is even deeper and closer to “o” in “pot” (like the way they say it in England). taga /`ta:ga/ (to take), tala /`ta:la/ (to speak, to talk).
  • /a/ is a short open mid unrounded vowel. It is close to English “o” in “stop” (American variant). This sound is complicated for those speakers of English who tend to retract the “o” in “stop”. kan /’khan:/ (can), han /’han:/ (he).
  • /o:/ is a long (narrow) mid back rounded vowel. No actual approximation in English. The closest English sound is /ou/ in “boat”, but the Swedish vowel has no glide (remember there are no gliding vowels in Swedish?). This vowel is very similar to the corresponding German sound, like in the word “Boot”. fågel /’fo:gəl/ (bird), sova /`so:va/ (to sleep).
  • /ɔ/ is a short (wide) mid back rounded vowel. It is actually close to the English vowel /:/ in the word “boring”, but don’t forget to make it very short! lång /’lɔŋ/ (long), hålla /`hɔl:a/ (to hold).
  • /u:/ is a long close back rounded vowel. It resembles the English sound /u:/ in “two”. However, it is even closer and could even have a slight approximation to “w” at the very end. tro /’tru:/ (to believe, to trust), bo /’bu:/ (to live (about location)).
  • /ʊ/ is shorter than /u:/. Many Swedes also make it a little more lax. orm /’ʊrm/ (snake), ont /’ʊnt/ (badly).
  • /ʉ:/ is the most difficult Swedish vowel. It is a long (narrow) mid slightly retracted front rounded vowel. Actually, the position of the tongue is close to /e:/, but the whole tongue is retracted a bit. The lips are very tense and pressed to the teeth. You will have to practice this sound a lot to eventually get it right. fura /`fʉ:ra/ (pine), ljus /’jʉ:s/ (light).
  • /ʉ/ is a short mid middle rounded vowel. It is even more retracted than /ʉ:/, and the lips are rounded, but not so tense. hund /’hʉnd/ (dog), lugn /’lʉŋn/ (calm).


Consonants:


  • /p/ is a bilabial (formed with both lips) voiceless aspirated stop. It is similar to English “p”. panna /`panna/ (forehead), spel /’spe:l/ (game).
  • /b/ is a bilabial voiced stop. This sound is similar to English “b”. bi /’bi:/ (bee), barn /’bɑ:ɳ/ (child).
  • /m/ is a bilabial voiced nasal (the air goes through the nose) consonant. It is no different from English “m”. mamma /`mam:a/ (mom), matta /`mat:a/ (carpet).
  • /f/ is a labio-dental (formed with the lower lip and the upper teeth) fricative voiceless consonant. The air goes through a narrow gap between the lip and the teeth. This sound is said like “f” in English. fira /`fi:ra/ (to celebrate), fram /’fram:/ (forward).
  • /v/ is the voiced equivalent for /f/ and is like “v” in English. vila /`vi:la/ (to rest), vänta /`vɛnta/ (to wait).
  • /t/ is a dental (formed on the upper teeth) voiceless aspirated stop. In English, “t” is said by pressing the tip of the tongue to the alveolar ridge behind the upper teeth. In Swedish, you have to go all way down to the teeth and say the sound there. The alveolar English /t/ is a totally different sound in Swedish. Practice “t” a lot to hear the difference. timme /`thim:ə/ (hour), tår /’tho:r/ (tear).
  • /d/ is a dental voiced stop. döma /`døm:a/ (to judge), de /’di:/ (they).
  • /n/ is a dental nasal voiced consonant. Again, simple say “n” making sure that the tip of the tongue is pressed to the upper teeth. nöje /`nøj:ə/ (pleasure), när /’næ:r/ (when).
  • /l/ is a dental voiced lateral consonant. Like you did before, press the tip of the tongue to the upper teeth to prevent confusion with the other “l”. lampa /`lampa/ (lamp), älg /’ɛlj/ (elk).
  • /s/ is a fricative dental voiceless consonant. There are two things about this sound. The first (and the most important) one is that this consonant is dental, which mean you should again apply the well known rule. The other point is that this sound has no voice parallel in Swedish, and the letter “s” is never pronounced like “z”. sorg /’sɔrj/ (misery), saga /`sɑ:ga/ (story).
  • /r/ is a tongue tip trill. The tip of the tongue must hit the alveolar ridge a few times as you say this sound. rita /`ri:ta/ (to draw), ropa /`ru:pa/ (to call for; to cry).
  • /ʈ/ is an alveolar voiceless stop. Now, you can relax and remember you native language. This sounds is the same as the English t-sound. kort /’kɔʈ:/ (short), fort /’fu:ʈ/ (fast).
  • /ɖ/ is an alveolar voiced stop. This sound is like “d” in English. bord /’bu:ɖ/ (table, board), gjorde /`ju:ɖə/ (did, made).
  • /ɳ/ is an alveolar voiced nasal vowel. kvarn /’kvɑ:ɳ/ (mill), örn /’œ:ɳ/ (eagle).
  • /ɭ/ is an alveolar lateral consonant. This sound resembles English “l” a lot. pärla /`pæ:ɭa/ (pearl).
  • /ʂ/ is a fricative alveolar voiceless consonant. This sounds resembles “s” in English, but is slightly similar to //, like in “sheep”. norska /`nɔʂka/ (Norwegian language).
  • /ɕ/ is a fricative palatal (tongue comes close to the palate) voiceless consonant. To say this sound, bring the tongue close to the hard palate (as if you were going to start saying “y-y-y-y-es”) and say a voiceless “y”. tjock /’ɕɔk:/ (thick), kirurg /ɕi’rʉrj/ (surgeon).
  • /j/ is the voiceless variant for /ɕ/. Thus, this sound resembles “y” in “yield”, but it is a bit more fricative (which means that the noise must be harsher). djur /’jʉ:r/ (animal), jaga /`jɑ:ga/ (to hunt).
  • /ɧ/ is a fricative back voiceless sound. It is actually very difficult to say. The lips are rounded quite a lot. The best way to learn this sound is listening and repeating. skjuta /`ɧʉ:ta/ (to shoot), skälla /`ɧɛl:a/ (to bark).
  • /k/ is a back voiceless aspirated stop. kalla /`kal:a/ (to call), kunna /`kʉn:a/ (can, to be able).
  • /g/ is a back voiced stop like “g” in English. gå /’go:/ (to go), gåva /`go:va/ (gift).
  • /ŋ/ is a back voiced nasal consonant. It is actually nothing different from /ŋ/ (ng) in English. hänga /`hɛŋ:a/ (to hang), ring /riŋ:/ (a ring).
  • /h/ is a fricative back voiceless consonant. It is said right the same way as “h” in English. hav /’hɑ:v/ (sea), het /’he:t/ (hot).

Grammar

Swedish grammar is relatively simple. During the process of it evolution, Swedish developed multiple analytic constructions as opposite to the old synthetic forms erased from the modern language and retained in fixed constructions, sayings, proverbs, as well as some highly scientific, formal, or religious texts etc..


The Noun

Swedish nouns are classifying according to gernder and declined according to number, case, and definiteness. There are two genders in Swedish - the Common gender and the Neuter gender. The Common gender stand for the old Masculine and Feminine which have lost grammatical differences. Actually, it is rarely logical which gender a noun belongs to. It is worth mentioning that the majority of Swedish nouns (about 80%) belong to the common gender. The neuter gender is thus typical for about one fourth of all words. From the actual form of a noun, it is almost never possible to predict the gender, so it should usually be memorized. However, sometimes, the meaning of a noun or its suffix / ending can help in defining the gender:

  1. all nouns ending in –are, -dom /-dʊm/, -het, -(n)ing, -tion /-’ɧu:n / are common;
  2. all words ending in –um, -eri /-ə’ri:/ are neuter;
  3. nouns deriving from verbs with the suffixes –ande / -ende are neuter (except they indicate an agent);
  4. all countries and cities are neuter;
  5. animated nouns (animal and human beings names) are often common;
  6. all compound words are gendered according to the last component.

The grammatical gender is usually expressed in declension endings, adjectives, pronouns, as well as other words accompanying a noun.

The category of case is controversial in Swedish. Some linguists tend to claim no cases in Swedish with the presence of syntactic possessive constructions. However, in most sources, it is still considered that Swedish nouns have two grammatical cases - the Common case and the Genitive case formed with an "-s" attached to the end of a noun after all its endings: "en pojke - en pojkes - pojken - pojkens :: a boy - a boy's - the boy - the boy's".

The category of number includes two items - singular and plural. There are five major types of plural formation in Swedish. Therefore, all nouns are classified as belonging to one of the five declensions:

1st Declension

This group includes all nouns of the common gender which end in an "-a" in the singular: "en skola - skolor" (school), "en mamma - mammor" (mom), "en klocka - klockor" (clock). These are the former weak feminine nouns. Some of them are still replaced with the pronoun "hon" (she), for example: "en människa - hon", "en klocka - hon", "en skona - hon" etc. Nouns in the first declension are declined as follows:

Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common skol-a skol-a-n skol-or sko-or-na
Genitive skol-a-s skol-a-n-s skol-or-s skol-or-na-s

The definite form singular ends in "-(e)n", and the definite form plural ends in "-na".

Some words that do not have an "-a" at the end also belong to the 1st declension: "en ros" (rose), "en våg" (wave), "en toffel" (slipper), "en svan" (swan, also 2nd declension optionally). Two words in the first declension are neuter: "ett dilemma - dilemmor", "ett panorama - panoramor".

2nd Declension

This group includes a large ammount of Swedish common words (often monosyllabic or ending in an unstressed "-e"). In the past, these nouns were either masculine or feminine. Nouns in the second declension are declined as follows:

Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common orm pojk-e orm-en poj-e-n orm-ar pojk-ar orm-ar-na pojk-ar-na
Genitive orm-s pojk-e-s orm-en-s pojk-e-n-s orm-ar-s pojk-ar-s orm-ar-na-s pojk-ar-na-s

Two nouns in the second group take umlaut in the plural: "en mo(de)r - mödrar" (mother), "en dotter - döttrar" (daughter).

The definite form singular ends in "-(e)n", and the definite form plural ends in "-na".

3rd Declension

Most of the nouns in this declension are common and of foreign (usually Latin) origin. Here are a few examples: “en student – studenter” (student), “en idé – idéer” (idea), “en apparat – apparater” (gear).

Another group of nouns in this declension are of Swedish origin and usually have one syllable in the basic form (apply “-r” only if the word ends in a stressed vowel): “en tjej – tjejer” (girl), “en ko – kor” (cow), “en sko – skor” (shoe).

A number of neuter words of international origin also belong to the 3rd declension. Among them, you can find words in “-eri /ə’ri:/” denoting institutions, as well as words ending in stressed “-e” or words ending in “-um”: “ett tryckeri – tryckerier” (publisher), “ett kafé - kaféer” (café), “ett centrum - centrer” (center). Here’s a list of suffixes which automatically define the third declension of a noun: “-het”, “-ist”, “-log”, “-nad”, “-när”, “-ör”, “-or”, “-ös”, “-else”, “-eri”, “-um” (“-um” is always dropped before the plural ending, just like before the definite singular form: “ett museum – museer”).

Note that those nouns from the third declension that end in an unstressed syllable “-or”, move the stress onto this syllable in the Plural: “en motor /`mu:tr/ - motorer /mʊ`tu:rər/” (motor).

Nouns in the third declension are declined as follows:


Common:


Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common färg färg-en färg-er färg-er-na
Genitive färg-s färg-en-s färg-er-s färg-er-na-s


The definite form singular ends in "-(e)n", and the definite form plural ends in "-na".


Neuter:


Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common tryckeri tryckeri-(e)t tryckeri-er tryckeri-er-na
Genitive tryckeri-s tryckeri-(e)t-s tryckeri-er-s tryckeri-er-na-s


The definite form singular ends in "-(e)t", and the definite form plural ends in "-na".


Some words in the third declension take umlaut in the plural form: “en strand - stränder” (shore, coast, beach), “ett land - länder” (country, land), “en tand - tänder” (tooth), “en bok - böcker” (book), “en and – änder” (duck), “en bokstav – bokstäver” (letter, print), “en bonde – bönder”, “en fot – fötter” (foot), “en hand - händer” (hand), “en ledamot – ledamöter” (member), “en natt – nätter” (night), “en rand – ränder” (edge), “en rot – rötter” (root), “en son /so:n/ – söner” (son), “en stad – städer” (city, town), “en stång – stänger” (pole).


4th Declension

The fourth declension includes neuter nouns that end in vowels. This group is not very large and it consists of originally Germanic words only. Nouns in the fourth declension are declined as follows:

Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common knä knä-(e)t knä-n knä-n-a
Genitive knä-s knä-(e)t-s knä-n-s knä-n-a-s


The definite form singular ends in "-(e)t", and the definite form plural ends in "-a".


5th Declension

The fifth declension is a large group of nouns including first of all those neuter nouns that end in a consonant. For example: “ett bord – bord” (table), “ett torn – torn” (tower), “ett universitet – universitet” (university), “ett tak – tak” (roof, ceiling).

To the fifth declension, there also belongs a group of common nouns ending in “-are” or “-er” and indincating professions or agents: “en arbetare – arbetare” (worker), “en mekaniker – mekaniker” (mechanic), “en invandrare – invandrare” (immigrant).

A small group of common nouns take no ending in the Plural, but they change their stem vowel (umlaut): “en bro(de)r – bröder” (brother), “en fa(de)r – fäder” (father), “en gås – gäss” (goose), “en man – män” (man), “en mus – möss” (mouse).

Nouns in the fifth declension are declined as follows:

Case / Form Indefinite Singular Definite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Plural
Common bord bord-et bord bord-en
Genitive bord-s bord-et-s bord-s bord-en-s


For neuter words, the definite form singular ends in "-et", and the definite form plural ends in "-en". For common words, the definite form singular ends in "-(e)n", and the definite form plural ends in "-en / -na".


The Article

Like in other Germanic languages, Swedish nouns are accompanied by articles.

The Indefinite Article has the form "en" for common nouns and "ett" for neuter nouns: "en skola" (school), but "ett lejon" (lion).

The definite article, as mentioned before, usually is attached to the end of a noun and functions as a suffix. It derives from the Old Norse demonstrative pronoun "hinn" (this) which was usually placed after the noun it modified. The definite suffix appears in the following forms:

  • common singular: "-(e)n"
  • neuter singular: "-(e)t"
  • common plural: usually "-na" ("-en" for a few words)
  • neuter plural: "-na" (3rd decl.), "-a" (4th decl.), "-en" (5th decl.)

The most challenging and mutation-causing is the formation of the definite form in the singular:

Gender / Base ending consonant stressed vowel unstressed vowel -en -el -er -um
Common -en -n -n -en -> -nen -el -> -eln -er -> -ern N/A
Neuter -et -(e)t -t -en -> -net -el -> -let -er -> -ret -um -> -et


The so-called "free standing" article is used in Swedish before adjectives modifying definite nouns or substantivized adjectives. It has the following forms:

  • common singular - "den". "den unge mannen" (the young man), "den döda" (the dead woman)
  • neuter singular - "det". "det vackra huset" (the beautiful house), "det gröna" (the green leaves / plants etc)
  • plural - "de [di:] / [dɔm:]". "de gamla kvinnorna" (the old women), "de döda" (the dead people)

Before ordinal numbers and adjectives indicating quantity, the definite article is dropped: "första gången" (the first time), "hela världen" (the whole world). However, the definite suffix of the noun is preserved.


The Adjective

Swedish adjective are a declinable part of speech, which means they change their form according to their function in a phrase, as well as the words they modify. An adjective in Swedish has the following grammatical categories:

  • gender
  • number
  • definiteness
  • degree of comparison

In modern Swedish, adjectives are not declined for case.

The category of definiteness is crucial in Swedish. All old Germanic languages had two different declensions of adjectives - strong (with indefinite nouns or as predicate) and weak (with definite nouns). The strong declension reflected the declension of pronouns, while the weak declension took the endings of weak nouns. Nowadays, the category of definiteness was erased from some Germanic language (English, Afrikaans) or is present as rudiment (Dutch, Frisian, Yiddish). In all Scandinavian languages, as well as in German, the category of definiteness is still significant in the system of the Adjective.

Swedish adjectives in the positive degree are declined as follows:


Indefinite:


Common singular base ending Neuter singular ending Plural ending Example
- -t -a lång - långt - långa
consonant + -t - -a svart - svart - svarta
-tt - -a mätt - mätt - mätta
stressed vowel -tt -a ny - nytt - nya
stressed vowel + -d / -t -d / -t -> -tt -a röd - rött - röda
consonant + -d -d -> -t -a vild - vilt - vilda
-ad -ad -> -at -e begåvad - begåvat - begåvade
-en -en -> -et -en -> -na mogen - moget - mogna
stressed -at / -et / -ut - -a konkret - konkret - konkreta


Definite:


In the definite form, adjectives take the "-a" ending in all genders and numbers (like the indefinite plural form):

  • en vacker flicka - den vackra flickan
  • ett vackert hus - det vackra huset
  • vackra flickor - de vackra flickorna

However, in case an adjective modifies a male living being in the singular form, it takes the ending "-e": den unge mannen.

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